Yesterday morning I woke up to the new ad presented by the Cesena Tourism Office. The promo exudes what I have know for years; Cesena is one of the best unknown cities in Europe.
I have been traveling to Cesena for the better part of a decade to visit friends and enjoy la dolce vita. For years this city (like many Italian cities) has flown under the radar to the general public and most unsuspecting tourists. But now, due to the extension campus of the University of Bologna and its young creative population, the richness of this city and the surrounding area are being exposed.
Here are the top 6 reason why this city will be one of the most visited Italian cities in the next 10 years.
- Culture. This city and its region has a subtle but attractive culture. It blends the quiet, soft-spoken disposition of the north with the bold charisma of the south. A combination of culinary delights, expressive nightlife, and promising economy. The city is littered with outdoor concerts, festivals, and countless trails to explore by hiking or biking.
- Mountains & Beach. This city is nestled perfectly between the white sandy beaches of the Adriatic coast to the east, and the soft mountain range to the west. Essentially, giving you both an alpine experience and coastal life all within an hour and a half by car. If you want a setting in the Tuscan hills sitting above a miles of coast line at half the price, Cesena is where you want to be.
- Wine: This region is known for its Sangiovese di Romagna. A bold red that most people don’t even know exists. The grape is essentially identical to the vines grown in Tuscany, but since the hills aren’t famous, the wine is extremely well priced. It has the same body, tannins, and minerality as its brother to the west (Chianti Classico), but tends to be slightly sweeter. You can buy amazing wine that should costs $15 or $20, for between $6 to $9. It’s a steal.
- Food: The region is known for several types culinary delights. The pasta called strozzapretti (or, strangle the pastor) is said to have originated from this region. They are also known for their white and black truffles that give old world flavor to a new world gastronomy. With the Adriatic sea only twenty minuets away by car, traditional northern Italian dishes are infused with fresh seafood. The costal town of Cervia (30 minutes away) is well known since Roman times for producing a gourmet sweet salt. You can eat very well here for around $12 a meal.
- Economy. This city is diamond in the rough for business looking to put down roots in Italy. The combination of affordable office/warehouse space, capable/educated workforce, and high-quality of life make this city perfect for business to flourish. You see large Italian companies such as Amadori and Technogym call this city and the surrounding area home. Prediction: I think you will see more companies starting to take advantage of this city in the years to come.
- History. The greater Cesena metropolitan area has four distinct influencers on its résumé: Leonard DaVinci, Ravenna, the library called Biblioteca Malatestiana, and the opera house named Teatro Alessando Bonci. Leonardo DaVinci lived and worked on the canal starting in Cesenatico (on the coast) and ending in Cesena. His influence is still seen today. A short 45 minute drive down the coast line is the city of Ravenna (said to be the center for late-Roman mosaic art) is still captivating people with its beautifully crafted mosaics. The Biblioteca Malatestiana was built in the 15th-century. It houses 341 manuscripts and 48 printed volumes (decorated with beautiful miniatures) that date back 1,200 years. Last but not least, the Teatro Alessando Bonci was built in 1843 and is still one of the jewels of this city.
For all these reasons and so much more, Cesena and the surrounding area will continue to thrive over the next decade. Keep it in mind when you are planning your next itinerary.
QOTD: What is the one thing you look for in a city? (Please leave your answers in the comment section below.)